Start Simple and Scale Fast With Digital CS  Image

Start Simple and Scale Fast With Digital CS 

Digital Customer Success (DCS) is continuing to evolve as a way to elevate and scale customer experiences—without burning out Customer Success Managers (CSMs). With a renewed spotlight, Digital Customer Success is now the number-one priority for CS leaders. But, while DCS isn’t rocket science, it can feel like there’s a barrier to entry.

At Pulse 2023, Gainsight experts led a conversation on Building the Foundation of Digital Customer Success. It’s a myth that you can’t get started until your data and processes are perfect. But it is true that you need to start small and take targeted actions in the early goings, before trying to tackle the entire customer journey across all segments. To find the sweet spot of where to start your DCS motion, so you can scale effectively, consider three pillars: Thrust, Velocity, and Altitude. Then, with a clear strategy and charter mapped out, you can prepare for lift off.

Control Thrust to Move Forward

While Digital Customer Success is the future of our industry, it isn’t a space race. Successful DCS programs often move at a slow, but steady pace, building toward a specific, attainable goal.

Define the Goal

Ask yourself, Why are you getting started on this path? What’s your objective? And what tactics will you use to achieve that specific objective? This will help you form a clear program charter and articulate your goal in a way that the entire company will understand.

Control Scope Creep

Scope creep is the killer of Digital CS initiatives. It can be easy to see success with a Welcome Email during customer onboarding and then feel like you need to spin up 50 email campaigns at different points in the customer journey. Remember: Ensure you’re tackling a strategy that’s manageable first, before trying to take on everything that’s possible with DCS. Starting small will set you up to scale more effectively.

Measure Your Progress

It can be easy to drown in a sea of 30 metrics. Instead, consider what outcome you care about the most, and identify the single North Star metric you want to focus on. What leading indicator maps to that outcome?

At Gainsight, for example, we realized Admin NPS was highly correlated with renewal. So we crafted a digital journey to improve the Admin experience, which we know has a real impact on our bottom line.

Maintain the Right Velocity

Next, ask yourself, How fast is reasonable for you to go?

To make sure you aren’t moving too quickly or getting bogged down, consider the following.

Customer Lifecycle

If you don’t have a point of view of what your non-digital lifecycle looks like, you probably shouldn’t build a digital one yet. You should have a point of view of the experiences a healthy customer should have on the way to getting outcomes and renewing and then you can think about how digital tools can change the delivery.


The last thing Digital CS should do is create a bandwidth problem. DCS is here to extend the bandwidth of your team. But, it can be easy to lose control of the scope of your DCS program if you say yes to every idea that comes your way. You’ll get used to saying “not right now” or “we’re not ready for this” or “do we need to depriortize something else?” Thinking about how you can frame those trade-offs to your business partners is critical.


Consider why or how someone would use a channel, before deciding every touch should be an email or in-app.

Part of this means considering what the right channel is based on the user. At Gainsight, for example, we know our users live in the product, so our default channel is in-app. But with executives, we’ve found email is a more effective way to reach them, because they aren’t always in the app.


Don’t forget to evaluate success and iterate tactics in the early stages of launching your DCS program. Making small corrections as you go allows you to scale faster in the long run.

Orbit at the Correct Altitude

Ask yourself, What level are you operating on with DCS? Don’t try to take on all of the following at once:

  • Lifecycle stage
  • Segment
  • Product level
  • Channel

Instead, pick a starting point: Are you already operating DCS with a specific segment or during a specific moment in the customer journey? Get started at that altitude and build from there, eventually taking on more journey stages and segments as you scale your Digital Customer Success program. With practice, you’ll figure out where to turn the dial up or down on digital.

When you start small and set your team up for success, the possibilities to grow that sphere of influence become attainable—and the opportunities to drive value are incredible. By leveraging advanced analytics and AI-driven insights, organizations can reach new heights of customer satisfaction, retention, and advocacy.

Are You Ready for the Future?

Learn more about Digital Customer Success today.